Blog: Frightening Bridges

Today is Halloween and what better way to celebrate it here on the BRIDGE conference blog with a Top 5 of the most Frightening Bridges!

Let’s see what makes these bridges so scary and what stories have formed around them throughout the years.

One
The Eshima Ohashi Bridge aka the Rollercoaster Bridge, in Japan
This piece of architectural ingenuity WILL frighten you, that is, if you’re afraid of heights and easily deceived by looks. The bridge is quite steep as it has a 6.1% grade slope on one side and a 5.1% grade slope on the other.

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Looking at the bridge, it seems to run into the sky and all traffic that crosses will tumble over, into the water. It is, however, a finished bridge with a proper other half to get you across. Besides its scary steepness, it also has a very odd kink in the middle. And now comes the fun part, once you get to the top you will descend at high speed, hence the nickname ‘Rollercoaster Bridge’.  The Eshima Ohashi bridge is 1.4 km long and open to all; cars, trucks, pedestrians, runners, and cyclists.

Watch a funny video clip here of a person cycling across this bridge!

Two
The Hanging bridge of Ghasa, in Nepal
Along the Annapurna circuit, there is a hanging bridge which leads to the nearby town of Ghasa and appears to be quite dangerous. It is nevertheless used by many.

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–By many animals that is, as not only trekkers cross here but mostly donkeys and herds of goats and cows. Their herders lead them across the hanging bridge instead of along local roads, to avoid congestions; for which the bridge was initially built. This large hanging bridge spans across the Kali Gandaki River, has a height of 70 meters and a length of 137 meters. Once you get over these facts, you will be able to enjoy a gorgeous view of the river gorge and mountains.

Three
The Devil’s Bridge, in Wales
Near the town of Aberystwyth, three bridges are spanned on top of each other across the Rheidol Gorge. At first, these bridges might not seem so frightening, as they appear sturdy and are short in length. But don’t be mistaken, they are spanned right above a very deep Gorge which also has a few waterfalls running through.

The Legend
A mysterious tale is told here as well. It goes like so; Around the 11th Century, the Devil decided to visit Wales as he had never been there before and had heard of its beautiful scenery. He soon came across an old lady who was upset as her cow had just wandered across the river and she couldn’t get it back. Then the Devil cunningly offered her to build a bridge. He told her: “Go home, and in the morning you will find a bridge here. All I ask in return is to keep the first living soul to cross the bridge”. The old lady agreed and went home.
At night, the old lady considered the Devil’s strange request; “Why should I cross the bridge to get my cow back if he gets to keep me in return?”

The next day she went to the river with her dog. In front of her was now a marvellous bridge! The Devil appeared and said that now he had kept his side of the bargain, so should she. The lady agreed and started walking towards the bridge, but she stopped and quickly threw a loaf of bread across the bridge and her dog chased after it. The Devil was infuriated! “I don’t believe it, your smelly farm dog is the first living soul to cross my bridge- it is of no use to me!” he screamed and then vanished.

The Devil was never seen in Wales again, as he must have felt so embarrassed. Though, in the mountains near Aberystwyth, there are three bridges built across a deep gorge. And the lowest one is said to be built by the Devil himself.

devils_bridge_-_geograph-org-uk_-_196947
Devil’s Bridge, Wales

Four
The Royal Gorge Bridge, in Colorado – USA
At around 291 meters high, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in the world! If you dare to enter this bridge and not only look at your feet, you will experience the most spectacular views of the mountains, the gorge and its surroundings. The Bridge was built in 1929 and is part of the Royal Gorge Natural Park, near Canon City, Colorado. Although this Bridge is quite old, it did withstand a massive wildfire in 2013 after which 90% of the park was destroyed and the bridge was hardly damaged.  And while you’re at it, why not frighten yourself a bit more and fly across the Gorge on the ‘Cloudscraper’ zip line, hands-free!

royal_gorge_bridge_looking_west
Five
Aiguille du Midi Bridge, France
If this fifth and final Bridge on our list doesn’t frighten you, then you must know no fear!
From the town of Chamonix in France, a cable car will take you to the gateway of the Alps and Mont Blanc Summit, to a height of 3,842m!! Here, a small bridge is spanned between two peaks of the Aiguille du Midi Mountain. From the bridge you will have fantastic views of snowy mountains, bright blue skies and brave hikers.

aiguille_du_midi_passerelle

What frightening bridges have you encountered?  Share your story and photo!

Sources:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/japan-eshima-ohashi-bridge-not-faint-hearted-article-1.2204044
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/02/travel/spectacular-footbridges/
http://thehigherlearning.com/2014/04/16/6-of-the-most-breathtaking-yet-terrifying-bridges-you-could-ever-cross-pictures/
http://www.devilsbridgefalls.co.uk/index.php?page=101
http://royalgorgebridge.com/
http://www.chamonix.net/english/leisure/sightseeing/aiguille-du-midi

Photo Credits:
Featured image: Rakotzbrücke By A.Landgraf – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51246301

Photo 1: Eshima Ohashi bridge By mstk east – eshima oohashi 04, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37893337

Photo 2: Ghasa Hanging Bridge By John Pavelka – Flickr: Suspension Bridge Over the Kali Gandaki Valley, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17853007

Photo 3: Devil’s Bridge By Richard Croft, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9297238

Photo 4: Royal Gorge Bridge By Bkthomson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19218575

Photo 5: Aiguille du Midi By Rémih – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22012829

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